"British magic returns to cinema" said The Times. In this 70s set comedy drama Archie played the scene-stealing Meenah, a soccer mad teenage tomboy. The Vancouver Sun described Archie's hilarious Bollywood broomstick dance as a "comedy classic." East is East won The Evening Standard Best Film Award and the prestigious Alexander Korda Bafta Award for Best British Film in 2000.
Archie went onto to appear in the hugely successfully British film BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, starring Keira Knightley. Archie played Pinky, the tart-with-a-heart, bride-to-be sister. Archie went onto win a BBC Mega Mela award for her performance in BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe and for a Bafta for Best British film in 2003.
Archie went onto work on the Oscar winning film The CONSTANT GARDENER. Based on the popular John Le Carre novel, the film was directed by Oscar nominated Fernando Meirelles. Archie played Ghita Pearson. When her close friend (Rachel Weisz) is found murdered, Ghita helps her husband (Ralph Fiennes) to discover the sinister truth behind the murder. The film was nominated for ten Baftas and went onto win an Oscar.
Next Archie was cast as the lead in the critically acclaimed award winning film YASMIN, written by Oscar nominated writer of The Full Monty, Simon Beaufoy. It tells the story of a young British Muslim woman whose life is torn apart in the aftermath of September 11. Archie received excellent reviews and the film was reshown on Channel Four six months later. The Daily Mail said her "funny, sad and touching performance will not only rocket her to instant stardom, but will have given all who witnessed it food for thought for many years to come."
In 2005 Archie was awarded Best Actress for YASMIN at The Reims Festival. In the same year Archie was also awarded The Shooting Star Award at the International Berlin Film Festival. The award is given to actors who are seen as "the most exciting and emerging actors from across Europe" (European Film Promotion). Previous winners include Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig.
Later in 2005 Ridley Scott cast her as Gemma, Russell Crowe's scene stealing mischievous and savvy executive assistant in the 20th Century Fox romantic comedy A GOOD YEAR, an adaptation of Peter Mayle's popular novel featuring Marion Cotillard. On working with her, Ridley Scott described Archie as "smart and sensitive enough as an actress to make anything fly, comedy or drama, an unusual talent."
Michael Winterbottom then cast her in a small role in CODE 46 a futuristic romance starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton. Archie then went onto to work alongside David Morrissey in THIS LITTLE LIFE, a powerful BBC film directed by Sarah Gavron. Archie plays a young naive mother who is thrown into neo-natal intensive care where her son is born prematurely. The drama went onto to win two Baftas.
In 2007 Michael Winterbottom cast Archie alongside Angelina Jolie in A MIGHTY HEART. The film is based on Mariane Pearl's bestselling memoir about the murdered Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl. Archie played the role of Asra Nomani, an Indian-American journalist and very close friend of Daniel Pearl. When Daniel fails to return from his interview both Asra and Marianne embark of an intense search effort. The film received a standing ovation in Cannes and continues to receive superb reviews, often picking out Archie's stand out performance. There is already talk of Oscars. Archie won The Chopard Trophy in Cannes 2007 for her performance in A MIGHTY HEART. Previous winners of this award include Gael Garcia and Marion Cotillard.
Archie has also worked on a number high profile television projects. In 2002 she worked on WHITE TEETH, a four-part Channel 4 adaptation of Zadie Smith's award-winning novel. Archie played the delicate but mouthy young bride of Om Puri. Directed by Julian Jarrold, it tells the story of three interlinked North London families spanning 3 decades from the 1970s onwards. The Observer said, "The magnificent Archie Panjabi dominates every scene in which she appears." White Teeth was aired on PBS in USA in 2003 and was also nominated for 3 Baftas.
In 2003 Archie played the studious and earnest parapsychology student Megan (alongside Bill Patterson) in SEA OF SOULS, a BBC drama about a team who investigate the paranormal. The series won a Bafta in 2004. Archie's next project was GREASE MONKEYS, in which she played the ace car mechanic boy-shy Rita. A surreal comedy drama for the BBC set in a garage run by a messed up low life family of odd balls. Archie's performance in the drama earned her a nomination for Best Actress in the Royal Television Awards in 2003.
In 2005 Archie went onto to work on A VERY SOCIAL SECRETARY, a Channel 4 satire on David Blunkett's affair with the American publisher of The Spectator, which led to the former Home Secretary's resignation. It was nominated for a Bafta and an Emmy. Archie played Blunkett's (Bernard Hill) loyal but principled political aide, the only one who was sympathetic to the blind man. The Telegraph said "Archie is superb as Ashley."
The Hot Talent Breakthrough for 2010
This is what some US critics are saying about Archie's performance as Kalinda Sharma in the CBS hit drama The Good Wife.
BIDESHI – BBC drama in which Archie played the lead.
ESCAPE TO SOMERSET – HTV drama in which Archie played the lead.
CHROMOPHOBIA – Feature film starring Kristian Scott Thomas and Penelope Cruz.
VOICES – ITV DRAMA – Archie played the lead.
CROSS MY HEART– Short film directed by Avie Luthra starring Sophie Okonedo.
TOUGH LOVE – ITV drama with Ray Winstone.
TWO ORANGES & A MANGOE – BBC drama written by Harwant Bains.
ARRANGED MARRIAGE – A short film in which received several awards and received a cinematic release. Archie played the lead.
FINAL DEMAND – BBC drama starring Tamzin Outhwaithe and Simon Pegg.
BRAND SPANKING NEW SHOW – SKY Comedy sketch show with Harry Enfield.
IN THE BEGINNING – HALLMARK biblical drama starring Christopher Lee and Martin Landau.
THINE BLUE LINE – BBC comedy hit series with Rowan Atkinson. Also shown on BBC America.
LIFE ON MARS – BBC series starring John Simm. The series won an Emmy in 2006 and is nominated for 7 Baftas.
Archie has also worked extensively in Theatre and Radio. Archie also provides voices for several characters in the hugely popular animated series POSTMAN PAT. The series is broadcasted around the world and is regularly shown on the BBC and on HBO.